Strategies for Improving the Mental Health Diagnostic Process: A Global Systematic Review

Kelsey Clayman

Name: Kelsey Clayman
School: Vagelos College of Physicians & Surgeons, Class of 2022. Varmus Global Scholar 2019
Mentor: Kathleen Pike, PhD


Across the globe, receiving a mental health diagnosis is a fundamental moment for service users, shaping how they view their symptoms, their relationships, and their own identity (Perkins et al., 2018). Due to the sensitive nature of the diagnostic process, and the notoriously problematic experiences of service users who encounter the mental healthcare system, our research sought to identify strategies currently employed in the diagnostic context to better support service users on their journey toward recovery. We completed a systematic scoping review of the literature in CINAHL, Medline, and PsycINFO, including searches related to communication, shared decision-making, collaboration, sharing of information, therapeutic physician-service user relations, and interventions targeting supporting service user experiences. Inclusion and exclusion criteria were agreed upon by researchers, and search results were screened for relevance. Following data extraction, we hope to elucidate the current evidence for best practices in delivering a mental health diagnosis. The implications of this research include better utilization of evidence-based diagnostic techniques, with particular regard to the recently released International Classification of Diseases – 11th Revision and the related need for service users to understand, agree to, and find therapeutic utility associated with having a mental health diagnosis.